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Case study

Purplebricks takes ownership of the purchase funnel

July 04, 2022

Purplebricks’ logo

Purplebricks didn’t get to sell more homes than any other estate agent brand in the United Kingdom by doing things the conventional way. Its online business model avoids high street branches in favor of a digitally-driven journey for those buying homes—and those selling them. A revolutionary fixed fee structure saves property sellers money by exchanging sales commission for a fixed fee model and an innovative approach to service helps remove friction from the process.

“Technology is at the heart of everything we’re doing—but we’re far from being a faceless online platform,” explains Tom Greenacre, MD of Sales for Purplebricks. “We have on-the-ground local property experts, and we expand the service to customers by enabling digital DIY for customers. This creates a seamless online-offline experience for our customers.”

This fusion of person-based and digital experience is enabling a data-led approach to transform the real estate sector that’s seen rapid growth for Purplebricks in the years since the business launched, and in that time, we’ve completely revolutionized the property industry.

“We’re able to understand the buyer journey in ways that other real estate agents can’t—and we’ve really evolved our customer service, using tech to make it less stressful while tapping into local expertise,” says Purplebricks’ Digital Acquisition Manager, Andrew Smith. “We’ve onboarded some cool digital products like 3D tours—and we’re generally able to make things happen faster and more efficiently. We look for innovative solutions from areas like Automotive and Travel rather than sticking to the way our industry does things.”

We recognized Microsoft as an innovative business partner that can help us be first to market, reach new audiences, and diversify our channels so we don’t hit a ceiling. It was a crucial step forward for us to be able to do things that others in our industry weren’t doing.

— Andrew Smith, Purplebricks’ Digital Acquisition Manager

Transforming the customer experience through digital innovation

Purplebricks’ innovations are designed to take the stress out of some of the most complex purchase decisions that people make in their lives. “It’s a very long path to purchase whether people are buying a home—or deciding who will help them sell it,” says Andrew. “Our approach is to demystify the process and make it as easy as possible. Our brand interjects a bit of humor, refrains from jargon, and makes it more pleasant for everyone. The goal with our advertising is to integrate that into all aspects of the customer experience.”

Creating a new purchase experience requires marketing partners with a real appetite for innovation. That was the type of partnership that Purplebricks discovered when it took a closer look at its options in search advertising. Microsoft Advertising proved to be a great channel when it came to converting interest and valuations into an actual instruction to sell.

“We’d been guilty of grouping Microsoft and Google together and treating them as the same PPC channel,” says Andrew. “When we brought the management of our search campaigns in-house, we got a much better view of the performance that Microsoft Advertising was delivering for us and these great metrics that had been hidden before. We recognized Microsoft as an innovative business partner that can help us be first to market, reach new audiences, and diversify our channels so we don’t hit a ceiling. It was a crucial step forward for us to be able to do things that others in our industry weren’t doing.”

Freeing search to influence the full purchase journey

The exclusive new opportunities that Microsoft brought to Purplebricks have transformed search engine results pages into a rich, branded experience that builds salience and drives consideration while generating clicks.

“Features like Multimedia Ads, Video Ads, and Image Extensions have made search more than just a lower-funnel channel for us,” says Jack Hart, PPC Lead for Purplebricks. “We’ve got the branding in there, and it’s great for consideration because we’re delivering targeted video messages exactly when the customer needs them. Search is the perfect tool to create that consideration at the same time as being great at converting.”

“We’ve had great feedback where people searching for our brand have encountered really striking brand imagery—and it’s very much a Microsoft feature that’s not offered by any other channel at the moment,” adds Andrew. “Bringing our brand personality into search engine results pages is really exciting.”

Innovating with Microsoft has enabled Purplebricks to respond to the reality of how homeowners decide on an estate agent to work with: An extended research process with many twists and turns, where preference comes from encountering a brand consistently across touchpoints. Working with the Microsoft Audience Network to retarget searchers in their feed provides another powerful option for influencing that journey.

“The whole Microsoft Advertising stack is working really well for us,” says Andrew. “Retargeting is an important part of our strategy—and native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network put us alongside premium content in premium positions, which is where we want to be as a market-leading brand.”

Empowering search to play a role throughout the funnel is delivering spectacular results for Purplebricks, further extending the value of Microsoft Advertising as a marketing property. “When we use all of these features, we find Microsoft Advertising delivering a return on advertising spend (ROAS) of 500%, and our conversion rates are up 18% across all activity” says Andrew. "That's far higher than any other channel. We're really happy with how this partnership delivers for us"

Bringing our brand personality into search engine results pages is really exciting.

— Andrew Smith, Purplebricks’ Digital Acquisition Manager

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